So I'm kind of interested the Alfine 8 / 11 system.
Seems like a splendid idea to get rid of the rear dérailleur - especially on mountain bikes, where it is vulnerable to rocks, and commuters/utility bikes where it is vulnerable to neglect.
But the range of gears seems like an issue. So I'm wondering if anyone has considered running some kind of front mech with these systems?
Obviously the biggest stumbling block there is that you'd need some way of taking up the chain slack as you changed gears, but I am sure there are interesting solutions to that:
maybe something like half a dérailleur, or perhaps a sprung chain device that mounts on the chain stay and pushes the chain upwards from the bottom?